Copyright © 2021 Roswell Daily Record
Copyright © 2021 Roswell Daily Record
ARTESIA — To say Joby Houghtaling has a unique perspective on Artesia High School athletics would be an understatement.
Houghtaling is the radio voice of Artesia High School and can be heard frequently on KSVP AM-990 and 93.7 FM.
Growing up, Houghtaling said he played Little League baseball, City League basketball and football in the schools.
“Once I got into junior high and high school, I just foucsed on football,” he said.
Houghtaling graduated in 1989 from West Texas A&M.
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Houghtaling played in a state football championship in 1987, “the infamous tie. We tied with Lovington 0-0, so I was a member of that team.”
Houghtaling has two younger brothers, Jeff and Ty and both of them wore Bulldog uniforms, too.
“Jeff played football and basketball, he played on a state championship team, but did not win. They played Goddard in 1992, the third-year coach (Cooper) Henderson was here and then they got beat,” he said.
“Then Ty was a freshman that year and he was a sophomore in Coach Henderson’s fourth year here and he played on three straight,” he added.
Joby Houghtaling didn’t play college athletics, although he did get an offer to play at Adams State in Colorado. However, he opted to attend college in Canyon.
“Jeff went onto scholarship to the University of New Mexico and he ended up being a starter and a captain. He was a quarterback out of high school and he moved to slot receiver when they changed offenses. They went to a running style his sophomore year,” he said.
Houghtaling added Dennis Franchione, the head coach at that time, told his brother that he probably wouldn’t be the starting quarterback due to the Lobos’ running style, “and gave him an opportunity to go anywhere else, so he played slot.”
Ty Houghtaling played at New Mexico State University in Las Cruces. “He ended up being their starter (at quarterback) and had a good career.”
Joby Houghtaling has also seen the next generation participate in Bulldog athletics, and his sons Josh and Andrew have worn the Artesia colors as well.
“Josh was quarterback,” Houghtaling said. “He split time his junior year at quarterback, which is kind of unique in Artesia, they hadn’t seen that happen much. Then his senior year, he was a starter and they won the title in 2010.”
“My younger son Andrew also played high school football here; he was a slot and quarterback,” he added.
Josh Houghtaling was offered a scholarship to play football at Eastern New Mexico University, “and they changed offenses and went to a triple option, so he transferred to Wayland Baptist Unversity and he ended up being the starting quarterback,” he said.
Houghtaling’s daughter Faith is an eighth-grader and participates in cheerleading.
Houghtaling has also seen some nieces and nephews participate in Bulldog athletics as well.
This was Houghtaling’s fourth season of broadcasting Bulldog basketball. This past football season was his third behind the KSVP microphone.
“It’s exciting for me because I’m a Bulldog through-and-through,” he said. “I enjoy all sports anyway, but then being an Artesia Bulldog and having the sense of pride that people have for their alma maters, I definitely have that,” he said.
Houghtaling said his family’s involvement with sports gives him that unique perspective to talk about sports. He admits he’s biased toward his hometown team.
“I think when you’re a hometown radio guy, you need to be biased toward your team,” he said.
“One of my objectives as a radio announcer for KSVP is to be obviously biased for my team, but to talk about the other team in the right manner,” he said. “If I see good things from the other team, I talk about them and if I see bad things I don’t necessarily harp on them.”
Houghtaling said one of his pet peeves “is when announcers are just terrible to the other team and don’t pronounce their names right or just don’t talk about them at all. In my mind, I want to have an audience that includes the Artesia Bulldogs. I recognize there are other towns that are going to be listening and I want them to like the broadcast.”
Houghtaling said he was watching a playoff game in one of the suites at Bulldog Bowl when he passed Gene Dow, the general manager of Pecos Valley Broadcasting. “I said, ‘If you ever want another guy to be on the radio, I’d like to do it.’ I never done radio before, so it was just in passing.”
Houghtaling said Dow told him, “I’ll keep you in mind.”
Months later in January 2014 Houghtaling said that Dow contacted him to see if he was interested in broadcasting Bulldog basketball.
“So I did basketball that spring and as basketball season was drawing close to the end, he said, ‘What do you think about doing some baseball and softball?’ and I said, ‘Yeah, I like it.’ So I did that.”
Houghtaling also expressed an interest in broadcasting the mothership of Bulldog sports football. During a trip that year to the state baseball and softball championships, Houghtaling also acquired play-by-play duties for the gridiron.
In order to prepare for a game, Houghtaling said he does plenty of reading on the internet. His preparation also continues at the game sight.
“I’ll ask around if I can find somebody that maybe a fan or I can talk with the coaching staff, if I think there’s a name that I’m not sure about, I’ll try and get it pronounced right anyway,” Houghtaling said.
Houghtaling wasn’t broadcasting when his sons played. However he has called plenty of games where his nieces and nephews have played.
“I love it,” he said when asked his reaction of calling out the names of his family members.
“I’m passionate, not only about Bulldog sports, but also my family. To get to see them play is not only fun and entertaining, there’s a lot of pride in me for getting to watch my nieces and nephews get to play,” he said.
This past football season, the Bulldogs won state title No. 30 and there’s only a select group of people who have played in those title games over the decades. Houghtaling was asked to share his thoughts on playing in a state title game.
“Looking back on it some 20-plus years later, it was a big deal. That day of the week leading up to it was a big deal. But, I think it’s bigger to me now because of the legacy of Bulldog football, the tradition,” he said.
“There’s a lot of high schools who don’t ever win state titles, so for me, to be a part of one was a big deal to me,” Houghtaling added.
“Between my brothers and our children, we’ve been a part of 11 state titles in various sports,” he said.
General assignment reporter Mike Smith can be reached at 575-622-7710, ext. 307, or at firstname.lastname@example.org.